As #FFD3 Kicks Off in Addis, Civil Society Raises Red Flags

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Development finance is entering a new era, and in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, civil society representatives remain unconvinced the new world of development cooperation holds more promise for the world’s poor than the old one.

Shifting ideas about aid, increasingly viewed as a tool to leverage private investment and not as a stand-alone funding stream for social services, have some pro-poor nongovernmental organizations feeling nervous about the outcome — and overall tone — of the third International Conference on Financing for Development, which kicks off Monday in the East African development hub.

“We have to be really strategic,” said Amy Dodd, director of the U.K. Aid Network, at a panel discussion Sunday. “I think we all know there’s been very little space for civil society in these conversations.”

]PPPs are viewed as the ideal marriage between government and business to share risks and pursue a development agenda. But is the reward worth the risk? On the eve of the Financing for Development Conference a new report from a leading European civil society network says that the public sector often finds itself on the risky end of the deal and development impact are often questionable.

The CSO forum this weekend provided civil society groups an opportunity to narrow down their priorities and zero in on a few key issues to press negotiators on as the week of discussions unfolds. The Addis conference, the first since the Doha Declaration in 2008, is meant to produce an outcome document, which will outline the sources of development finance that can be drawn on to implement the sustainable development goals.

Negotiators have stumbled over a few contentious issues though, and civil society groups are rallying to shape the document in its final stages. Some have even questioned whether the document will be finalized — and agreed to — before the conferences closes Thursday.

While financing talks have emphasized the importance of domestic tax resources to fund sustainable development, CSOs remain adamant that cracking down on tax evasion and avoidance by multinational corporations represents an equally important outcome. NGO representatives hope the creation of an intergovernmental regulatory body to enforce global tax standards and stem illicit financial flows might find its way — albeit at the last moment — to the negotiating table.

Source: Devex (link opens in a new window)

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